21 Most Beautiful and Unique Villages To Visit in the World

Have you ever imagined visiting a village that looks like it came right out of a storybook?

Picture walking down cute, cobblestone streets with houses and buildings from long ago. There are hidden tiny towns all over the world waiting to be explored.

Some are located on cliffs high above gorgeous landscapes. Others seem frozen in time, allowing you to experience traditions that have lasted for hundreds of years.

As you wander through these villages, you’ll see amazing architecture blending perfectly with the natural beauty surrounding it.

These special places let you slow down from your busy life, experience how the locals live, and make wonderful memories you’ll never forget.

Doesn’t that sound like an incredible adventure?

Here are 20 of the most beautiful and unique villages to visit in the world, including two Japanese villages:

1. Ogimachi, Shirakawa-gō, Japan

This incredible village is famous for its unique gassho-zukuri farmhouses with thatched roofs shaped like two hands joined in prayer.

As you wander the village, you’ll be surrounded by over 100 of these traditional houses with some dating back to the 18th century.

The pointed roofs were designed to withstand the heavy snowfall in this mountainous region.

In fact, Ogimachi looks like it’s covered in a blanket of white powder for about half the year!

One of the coolest experiences is seeing the houses all lit up at night. You can also visit the open-air museum to learn about the culture and daily life of the villagers long ago.

With its frozen-in-time charm, stunning mountain scenery, and historic architecture unlike anywhere else, Ogimachi allows you to truly escape the modern world.

2. Lauterbrunnen, Switzerland

Imagine a place where you can see more waterfalls than anywhere else in Switzerland, where the mountains touch the sky, and adventure awaits around every corner.

Welcome to Lauterbrunnen, a village tucked away in a valley of the Swiss Alps.

This isn’t just any valley; it’s home to 72 thundering waterfalls, including the famous Staubbach Falls, which plunge almost 300 meters down.

That’s as tall as three football fields stacked on top of each other!

And if that’s not enough, you can hop on a train and journey to the top of Europe at the Jungfraujoch, where you can play in the snow even in summer.

Lauterbrunnen is not just a feast for the eyes; it’s a playground for those who seek thrills and love nature.

3. Gullholmen, Sweden

This quaint village is a hidden gem located in the heart of Orust Municipality, boasting a rich history that dates back to when it had 651 inhabitants in 1900.

Imagine strolling through narrow alleys lined with historic fishing cottages and boathouses, feeling the gentle sea breeze on your face. With a passenger ferry as your chariot, you can explore the island’s natural beauty, from the bustling harbor to the serene Härmanö, part of one of Bohuslän’s largest nature reserves.

Here, you’ll find a paradise for bird watchers and nature lovers alike, with a tapestry of heaths, flowering meadows, and pristine swimming coves.

Gullholmen is a peaceful island in Sweden with lots of people living close together, surrounded by the sea. It’s perfect for anyone looking to relax and enjoy the beauty of nature.

4. Monteriggioni, Italy

Have you ever wanted to visit a real medieval village? Monteriggioni, Italy is like stepping back in time over 700 years!

This tiny walled town sits on a hilltop in the beautiful Tuscan countryside. As you approach, you’ll see its impressive stone walls and 14 watchtowers that protected it long ago.

Once inside, you’ll be amazed by the narrow, winding streets and rustic stone buildings.

One of the coolest sights is the Romanesque church right in the middle. You can also walk along the ancient walls for incredible views of the rolling green hills and vineyards all around.

Monteriggioni makes you feel like you’re a knight or noble from centuries past. With its old-world charms and stunning Tuscan setting, this magical village is a must-see for anyone who loves history, architecture, and breathtaking natural scenery.

5. Tjørnuvík, Streymoy, Faroe Islands

This tiny village is perched on a narrow strip of land, surrounded by towering green cliffs and the crashing waves of the North Atlantic Ocean.

As you approach, you’ll be in awe of the stunning natural scenery. The village’s black-roofed grass houses seem to sprout right out of the mossy slopes. One of the coolest sights is the double-sided Ældubergið sea-carved rock standing tall like a giant’s tooth in the ocean.

For the adventurous, you can hike up to the Óngligarð viewpoint for an incredible panorama of Tjørnuvík nestled in this dramatic landscape.

6. Eguisheim, France

Get ready to feel like you’ve traveled back to medieval times in the incredibly charming village of Eguisheim, France.

As you stroll down the winding cobblestone streets, you’ll be surrounded by rows of brightly colored timber-framed houses with flowery window boxes and slanted roofs.

One of the biggest highlights is the Village Church, an iconic 13th-century building with a beautifully decorated facade and soaring bell tower.

You can also wander along the old town walls for amazing views over the idyllic village and lush vineyards beyond.

Be sure to visit Eguisheim around Christmas when the entire village transforms into a dazzling display of twinkling lights and festive decorations.

With its storybook beauty, medieval architecture, and picture-perfect scenery, Eguisheim allows you to step back in time while still enjoying modern comforts.

7. Ushguli, Georgia

High up in the mountains of Georgia, the remote village of Ushguli feels like a place frozen in time.

With its ancient stone towers dating back to the 9th century, Ushguli transports you to another era.

As you wander through the village’s winding alleys, you’ll be surrounded by over 60 of these defensive towers looming above the traditional houses with slanted roofs.

One of the coolest things about Ushguli is its incredible setting. Perched at an elevation of 2,100 meters, it’s one of the highest permanently inhabited villages in Europe.

The backdrop of snowy peaks, vast green meadows dotted with grazing sheep, and the Enguri River rushing through make for unbelievable views.

You can even see Mt. Shkhara, one of the highest summits in the Caucasus range.

With its medieval charms, unblemished nature, and remote mountain beauty, Ushguli allows you to truly disconnect from the modern world.

8. Calcata, Italy

Located in the hills of Lazio, Italy, Calcata looks like it jumped right out of a Renaissance painting.

As you wander the village’s narrow, cobblestone lanes, you’ll be surrounded by crumbling stone houses adorned with climbing vines and vibrant flowers. Many of these rustic dwellings date back to the 13th century.

One of the coolest experiences is visiting Calcata’s famous “Dream Alley.” This hidden passageway is decorated floor-to-ceiling with colorful murals, mosaics, and dreamcatchers created by local artists.

You can also check out Calcata’s scenic hilltop location offering incredible panoramic views of the surrounding valleys and Monti Sabini mountain range.

With its medieval architecture, bohemian charms, and serene natural setting, Calcata allows you to unplug from the modern world.

9. Castle Combe, England

Can you imagine wandering down a quintessential English village street lined with centuries-old cottages made of warm, honeyed stone?

Welcome to Castle Combe, often called the “prettiest village in England!”

As you stroll along the narrow lanes, you’ll be surrounded by fairytale houses with thatched roofs, gardens overflowing with blooms, and historic gardens lined with towering trees.

One of the coolest spots is the 14th-century Market Cross right in the center of the village where markets were once held. You can also walk along the gentle River Bybrook and cross over the ancient packhorse bridge.

For amazing views, hike up to the ruins of a medieval castle on the hill overlooking Castle Combe. With its unbelievable old-world ambiance, picturebook scenery, and rich history dating back to the 13th century, this Cotswolds village allows you to truly step back in time to a romantic era of yore.

10. Bernkastel-Kues, Germany

This enchanting village looks like it came straight out of a storybook with its winding cobblestone streets, half-timbered houses adorned with colorful flowers, and historic buildings dating back to the 15th century.

As you explore, you’ll see the iconic pointed turrets and gingerbread trim decorating many structures.

One of the biggest highlights is the Landshut Castle, a medieval fortress looming high above the village’s Old Town offering incredible panoramic views.

You can also stroll along the banks of the Mosel River which winds through Bernkastel-Kues, surrounded by rolling green vineyards as far as the eye can see.

With its picture-perfect beauty, fine wines, and old-world charms around every corner, this German village allows you to get lost in a romantic bygone era.

11. Hallstatt, Austria

Located between a shimmering alpine lake and towering mountains, Hallstatt, Austria is a storybook village that seems plucked straight from the pages of a fairy tale.

As you wander the narrow, car-free streets, you’ll be surrounded by a tapestry of 16th-century alpine houses adorned with bright flower boxes and frescoed facades.

One of the most iconic sights is the ancient Protestant church reflected in the glassy waters of Hallstatt Lake.

You can take a traditional flat-bottom boat ride for an up-close view of the church and village from the water. Another must-see is the world’s oldest salt mine, which you can actually tour deep inside the mountain.

With its picture-perfect alpine scenery, waterside setting, historic salt mining heritage, and whimsical architecture, Hallstatt offers a true escape into the past. As you explore the winding alleys, marketplaces, and lively waterfront promenade, you’ll feel transported to a bygone era of alpine village life.

12. Reine, Lofoten Islands, Norway

Reine, tucked away in Norway’s remote Lofoten Islands, is a true Arctic paradise. Imagine a tiny fishing village in a deep fjord, surrounded by emerald green meadows that sweep up to jagged, snow-capped mountain peaks.

As you wander the shoreline, you’ll be awestruck by the rows of traditional red and white fishermen’s cabins called rorbuer that seem to rise straight out of the crystalline waters of the fjord.

One of the most magical experiences is witnessing the phenomenon of the midnight sun, where the sky never gets completely dark during the summer months. You can go hiking under a red-tinted night sky or kayaking across glassy fjords bathed in a warm evening glow that stretches past midnight.

With its dramatic scenery, cozy charm, and celestial light displays, Reine offers the chance to truly escape into nature’s majesty.

13. Yoshinoyama, Japan

Located deep in the mountains of Japan’s Nara Prefecture, the historic village of Yoshinoyama feels like a window into the past.

As you wander the quiet streets, you’ll be surrounded by traditional thatched-roof farmhouses called gasshō-zukuri, some dating back an incredible 400 years.

One of the most breathtaking sights is the Yoshino cedars and cypress trees that tower over the village, enveloping it in a blanket of green. These ancient trees are considered living national treasures of Japan.

Another highlight is the moss-covered Kinpusen-ji Temple, founded in 742 AD, where you can see gardens, pagodas, and Buddha statues peeking through the foliage.

With its remarkably preserved thatched-roof architecture, verdant forests, and profound sense of history and tradition, Yoshinoyama offers an escape into old-world Japan.

As you meander the earthen paths and breathe in the fresh mountain air, you’ll feel transported back centuries to an elegant, serene way of life long since faded elsewhere.

14. Grindelwald, Switzerland

Located in the heart of the Swiss Alps, Grindelwald is a picture-perfect alpine village that will take your breath away.

As you approach, you’ll be greeted by the sight of traditional Swiss chalets adorned with colorful flower boxes, surrounded by towering snow-capped peaks and lush green meadows.

One of the biggest draws is the incredible panoramic views of the iconic Eiger, Fiescherhorn and Wetterhorn mountains looming over the village.

You can take a thrilling ride up to the Jungfraujoch observation deck on Europe’s highest railway for stunning glacial vistas.

Another must-do is exploring the picturesque hiking trails that wind through alpine forests, past babbling brooks and wildflower-strewn valleys.

With its fairytale beauty, incredible mountain scenery and endless outdoor adventures right at your doorstep, Grindelwald allows you to embrace the peaceful serenity of Swiss village life while being surrounded by nature’s grandeur.

15. Rocca Imperiale, Italy

Perched atop a soaring cliff in Italy’s Calabria region, the medieval village of Rocca Imperiale appears frozen in time.

As you wander the winding cobblestone lanes, you’ll be transported back to the 16th century, surrounded by crumbling stone edifices, arched doorways, and sun-baked plazas.

One of the biggest highlights is the breathtaking panoramic view from the ancient fortress that gives the village its name.

From this lofty vantage point, you can gaze out over terracotta rooftops to the sparkling Ionian Sea and Calabrian countryside below.

Another must-see is the majestic Palazzo Rendano, an ornate Renaissance palace with an intricately carved portal.

With its aura of faded grandeur, spectacular hilltop setting, and glimpses into a medieval past around every corner, Rocca Imperiale allows you to escape the modern world entirely.

16. Mont-Saint-Michel, France

Imagine an entire village rising dramatically from the sea, its ancient stone structures and soaring spires appearing like a mirage on the horizon. This is the utterly spellbinding sight of Mont-Saint-Michel in northern France.

As you cross the causeway during low tide, the island’s fortified walls and Gothic abbey seem to loom taller with every step.

Once inside the village gates, you’ll be transported back to medieval times as you wander the narrow, winding streets lined with timber-framed houses, shops, and restaurants.

Be sure to traverse the Grand Rue leading up to the breathtaking Abbaye du Mont-Saint-Michel.

This incredible Benedictine monastery dates back to the 11th century and its unique architecture blends Gothic, Romanesque, and Norman styles.

With its dramatic coastal setting, incredible tides that make it look like an island adrift at sea, and remarkably preserved medieval architecture and village, Mont-Saint-Michel offers a transcendent experience.

17. Biertan, Romania

Get ready to step back in time in the medieval village of Biertan, Romania.

As you approach, you’ll be greeted by the sight of the imposing 15th-century fortified church rising high above the traditional Saxon houses with their distinct red-tiled roofs.

One of the coolest experiences is walking the old village footpaths that wind through the countryside, passing orchards, vineyards, and pastoral scenes of horse-drawn carts and grazing livestock, just as locals would have centuries ago.

In the village center, you can admire the beautifully preserved houses with their intricate carved gates and window arches.

Biertan’s incredibly well-preserved architecture and rural way of life allow you to slip back to the Middle Ages. As you wander the quiet lanes, hearing church bells ringing in the distance, you’ll feel transported to a simpler, almost magical era lost to the modern world elsewhere.

18. Wallace, Idaho, USA

Wallace, Idaho is a delightfully charming village that transports you back to the romantic era of the Wild West.

As you stroll along the main cedar-lined street, you’ll be surrounded by historic brick buildings housing antique shops, cafes, and museums that hearken back to Wallace’s silver mining heyday in the late 19th century.

One of the most iconic sights is the Sierra Silver Mine Tour, where you can actually descend into an authentic underground mine shaft for an up-close look at mining operations of yesteryear.

The town center also features a unique stoplight sculpture made from an enormous strip of green and red neon tubing.

With its impeccably preserved frontier architecture, mining heritage attractions, and old-West ambiance, Wallace offers a glimpse into Idaho’s rough-and-tumble mining town roots.

19. Bourtange, the Netherlands

Located in the tranquil region of Westerwolde, near the German border, lies Bourtange, a picturesque village in the Netherlands that seems to have leaped out of a storybook.

With a mere 430 residents, this village boasts the remarkable Fort Bourtange, a star-shaped fortress built in 1593 that today serves as an open-air museum.

The fort’s unique geometric layout, surrounded by lush green moats and accessible only via its original drawbridges, offers a glimpse into the 18th-century life.

Visitors can explore the meticulously restored barracks, the charming market square, and the quaint church, all while enjoying the serene beauty of the surrounding marshes.

20. Aitoliko, Greece

Aitoliko, known as the “Island of Love,” is a hidden gem in Greece that captivates visitors with its serene beauty and romantic allure.

This enchanting town is located on a small island surrounded by the Aitoliko and Missolonghi lagoons, creating a breathtaking landscape that’s perfect for nature lovers and couples seeking a tranquil getaway.

The town’s charm is further enhanced by its Venetian-style canals, reminiscent of the “Venice of Greece,” where one can wander through narrow streets or glide along the waterways by boat.

With a population of just over 4,800, Aitoliko offers an intimate setting where you can immerse yourself in local culture, savor traditional Greek cuisine, and explore historical sites like the ancient city of Makyneia nearby.

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